Kawai's late '80s flurry of hi-tech equipment included such gems as the K1 synth and the R50 drum machine (see Part 1 of this feature in last month's SOS) -- and a hardware sequencer, the Q80. Though nothing really novel stands out about this unit, it's comprehensively and solidly specified, and offers the convenience of a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive. In addition to sequencing duties, the Q80 is also well suited to the odd bit of MIDI SysEx storage, as it has 64K of internal memory set aside specifically for SysEx data (separated into ten files). All the functions you'd expect of a hardware sequencer are present, and the provision of two MIDI Outs gives you access to 32 fully independent MIDI channels. One of the programming features, 'Motif', is very neat. Up to 100 drum machine-like patterns can be inserted anywhere you like in a song -- and any section of a song can itself be turned into a Motif. The use of Motifs makes the construction of finished tracks a fast and intuitive process.
At a second-hand price of around £150 or less, the Q80 is a neat, smart-looking sequencer with enough features to satisfy even the more demanding musician.
• Tracks: 32.
• Note Capacity: 26,000 notes.
• Resolution: 96ppqn.
• Storage: Floppy disk.
• Target price: £150.
• SOS Review: February 1989.
The Q-80 is a 32-track sequencer with 26,000-note capacity and a built-in 3.5" disk drive. Extensive and complete editing, real-time and step recording and quantizing with up to 10 songs. A new "motif" function allows up to 100 stored musical phrases or "motifs" for use or insertion into a song at any time. The Q-80 works well in the studio and for live performances. The Q-80 can also store MIDI system exclusive data to disk from other synths. (1988)